Indy favorite Chris Coste is headed back to a major league uniform although his work still seems to be cut out before he makes an opening-day, 25-man roster.
There seems to be some confusion whether the New York Mets have officially announced the signing of the catcher-infielder who spent his first five professional seasons in Independent leagues, but all signs indicate he will have a coveted 40-man roster job heading into spring training.
The story apparently broke in his hometown newspaper, the Fargo (ND) Forum, earlier this week, and it has since been widely distributed.
"They (Mets) have money to spend and they could go out and get a couple more catchers," Coste told the Fargo paper. Bingo! They have already added one other receiver.
The National League team announced a deal Thursday night with 38-year-old free agent Henry Blanco. News reports give him the inside track to land the backup catching job away from Coste and Omir Santos, who caught many games last season. The Mets still seem to be looking for a No. 1 receiver, possibly from among free agents Bengie Molina or Rod Barajas, who Coste had to outlast for playing time in Philadelphia in 2007.
Coste, whose grit is well documented through his Independent days, including four seasons in Fargo (Northern League), obviously still has plenty of determination. "Money was not the deciding factor," he told the Forum. "It was a combination of the opportunity to be on a team that has a chance to win and to be in an area that is just as intense as Philadelphia was."
It was in Philadelphia where Coste finally got his first major league opportunity at age 33 in 2006. He was with the Phillies through their World Series championship in '08, but was claimed on waivers by Houston last July 10. The Astros outrighted him to Triple-A after the season, a year in which he hit .224 in 205 at-bats for Philadelphia and Houston with two homers and 18 runs batted in. The '09 average was nearly 50 points below his career mark of .272 for 299 games.